Event reports sponsored by Elite Horse Owners
Sarah Carless reports …
Taylor dominates at Millstreet
Great Britain’s Izzy Taylor once again dominated on Irish soil winning two three star classes at the 2017 Millstreet International Horse Trials.
Riding Alex Phillips 15-year-old warmblood gelding Perfect Stranger, Taylor secured the Noel C Duggan Engineering CCI***, having already topped the table in the Connolly’s RED MILLS CIC3* with Be Touchable. Taylor is a regular visitor to Ireland, and earlier this year took an unprecedented one, two three in the CIC*** at Camphire International and also won the CIC*** at Kilguilkey House International
In the CCI***, Taylor was lying in second place after dressage and cross country, just behind New Zealand’s Blyth Tait (Havanna van’t Castaneahof). Sunday’s show-jumping action was influential and the time allowed proved hard to get. Tait had two horses placed in the top three coming in to the show-jumping arena and proved that a clear round inside the time could be achieved with his first ride, Darius.
Taylor delivered a clear round timed to perfection with Perfect Stranger, putting the pressure on Tait. However, his chances of success came to an unfortunate end early in the James Tarrant-designed track when he lowered the first two fences. Proceeding to incur two time faults, Tait dropped down to third place with Havanna van’t Castaneahof, handing the win to the British rider. First-time visitor to Millstreet from the USA, Jennie Brannigan picked up just a single time penalty to complete in fourth place with ‘Stella Artois.’
Taylor had an impressive winning margin of 10.5 penalties in the CIC*** leading from start to finish to complete on her dressage score of 37.4 with Be Touchable. The 2016 winner and pathfinder for the class, Taylor produced what turned out to be the only clear round inside the optimum time to retain her title with the Sophie Dodds’-owned gelding.
All eyes had been on Jonty Evans and Cooley Rorkes Drift, with the pair making their first competitive appearance having secured ownership after a €550,000 crowd funding campaign. The duo lay in fourth after dressage and moved up to second after the show jumping. They looked set to maintain this position but an unfortunate slip on the flat just before the Global Event Horses Wallis Water complex at Fence 16 saw them part company and ended their chances.
This left the door open for American visitor Kim Severson and Cooley Cross Border to move up to second place having added just 2.4 time penalties to her dressage score. Andrew Hoy moved up the leaderboard to take eventual third place with Rutherglen.
Jodie O’ Keefe gave Ireland a home win in the Sport Ireland CCI** class with her father Joe’s ‘Reenmore Duke’. Ranked third after the dressage phase, O’Keefe added just a single cross-country time fault to her dressage score; completing on 48.8 penalties. Rosie Fry produced the only double clear round of the competition when she took second place with ‘Arise Cavalier’ ahead of Kildare-based Cathal Daniels with OLS Back Chat.
Annie Bellamy made her first competitive trip to Ireland worthwhile when she topped the leaderboard in the Horse Sport Ireland CCI*. Leading from the dressage, Bellamy maintained a clean score sheet with her own seven-year-old mare Grafik.
Less than a penalty behind on the leaderboard, Australian athlete Emma McNab maintained her second place position with Inxs while Irish rider Jonty Evans completed the top three with ‘Gambesie.’
The Eventing Ireland CIC** proved to be a truly International affair with five nations represented inside the final top ten. A regular visitor to Millstreet International, New Zealander Jesse Campbell added another Millstreet win to his collection, this time with Gary Harding’s 11-year-old gelding Amsterdam 21.
Just six combinations finished on their dressage scores, including Great Britain’s Laura Collett who took second and third place with London 52 and Cooley Again respectively.
The notes of Amhran Fiann
The notes of Amhran na bhFiann had rung out across the Green Glens Arena just twenty-four previously when Irish rider Charlotte Dixon emerged on top of a 68-strong field in the Gallivan Murphy Hooper Dolan CIC* with her mother Barbara’s 15-year-old gelding V Zermie 51. British visitor Tallulah Bartlett finished just over two penalties behind with Candyman Leanorth, while Alfie Marshall completed the top three with Tiggity Boo.
The Irish Sport Horse Studbook sponsored CIC*YH once again proved to be an important step in the selection process for the Irish horses heading to the FEI World Eventing Championships for Young Horses in Le Lion later in the year.
Katie O’ Sullivan held on to the lead from the start with the Cooley Farm’s Irish Sport Horse AKD Cooley Lockdown, completing on a penalty score of 37.1 having added just 0.4 across the country. Elizabeth Power took second with DSL The Entertainer, just ahead of British rider Tobias Pigott with Lance a Little.
The Irish Sport Horse Studbook also supported the National Eventing Discovery classes for four and five year old horses and following the preliminary round on Saturday night, the top eight in each section performed in the International Arena where the final results were decided. A judging panel consisting of FEI International judges, selectors and coaches were on hand to assess each of the finalists and Cathal Daniels’ Ei Tannarette DHI was the highest scoring five year old while Kelley Hutchinson’s Sligo Candy Boy sired gelding HSH Luska Legend came out on top in the four year old division.
Photographs courtesy of Radka Preisler